Quick grammar of Esperanto
Every word in Esperanto is pronounced just as it is spelt, with each letter corresponding to a single sound. There are no silent letters. The stress is always on the penultimate a/e/i/o/u, for example, rapide (quickly) is spoken rah-PEA-deh.
- c = ts
- ^c (circumflex over c) = ch, tsh
- g = g (hard as in get)
- ^g (circumflex over g) = g (soft as in ginger), dzh
- h = h (never silent)
- ^h (circumflex over h) (rare) = ch in Scottish loch
- i = ee
- j = y
- aj = eye
- ej = ay in hay
- oj = oy
- uj = u + short i
- ^j (circumflex over j) = s in pleasure, zh
- s = ss (never like z)
- ^s (circumflex over s) = sh
- u = oo
- ù (breve over u) (rare) = w
- aù = ow in now or how
- eù (rare) = e + short u
- x = extending letter. X is not one of the 28 letters of the Esperanto alphabet, but some people do use it to indicate a circumflex or breve on the preceding letter (cx=^c, gx=^g, hx=^h, jx=^j, sx=^s, ux=ù). This is only a temporary measure used on the Net: the true Esperanto letters will be used when Unicode WWW browsers become widespread.
There are no irregular verbs. All verbs (even esti = to be, havi = to have, iri = to go, and fari = to do/make) take the same simple declination: add -is -as -os -us -u or -i to the root (est- hav- ir- far-). This is illustrated in the following examples.
- -is for past: Li vidis kaj ^si aùdis = He saw and she heard
- -as for present: Mi sidas, sed ili staras = I sit / am sitting, but they stand / are standing
- -os for future: Mi ferios julie = I will go on holiday in July
- -us for conditional: Se mi estus ri^ca, (tiam) mi a^cetus helikopteron = If I were rich, (then) I would buy a helicopter
- -u for imperative: Envenu! = Come in!
- -i for infinitive: Mi volas na^gi en la maro = I want to swim in the sea
There are no word genders in Esperanto, and "the" is always "la". There is no word for "a", so Domo = A house = House. Plurals are always formed by adding -j.
- -o for singular nouns: Viro kun hundo = A man with a dog
- -oj (pronounced -oy) for plural nouns: Homoj en la lando de espero = People in the land of hope
Pronouns are short words ending in an i (li=he, ^si=she, ^gi=it). Objects are without exception formed by adding -n: La kato rigardas lin/^sin/^gin = The cat watches him/her/it.
Adjectives and adverbs
- -a for singular adjectives: Unu verda stelo = One green star
- -aj (pronounced -eye) for plural adjectives: Du feli^caj amantoj = Two happy lovers
- -e for adverbs: Ni kuros rapide = We will run quickly
- -ant- => -ing: La ku^santa viro = The lying man (ku^si = to lie, mensogi = to tell a lie)
- -it- => -ed: La fermita pordo = The closed door (fermi = to close)
- ^Cu = Is it true that. This word is used to make simple yes/no questions: ^Cu mi rajtas eniri? = Can (may) I enter?
- Kial (pronounced KEE-al) = Why. Kial vi volas transiri? = Why do you want to cross (over)?
- Kiam (pronounced KEE-am) = When. Kiam vi devas foriri? = When must you leave?
- Kie (pronounced KEE-eh) = Where. Kie oni povas eniri? = Where can you (one) enter?
- Kio (pronounced KEE-oh) = What. Kion vi diris? = What did you say? (-n because kio is used as the object here)
- Kiu (pronounced KEE-oo) = Who. Kiu donos la bluajn al mia amiko? = Who will give the blue ones to my friend? (no -n because kiu is used as the subject here)
© 2003 Travlang Online, Inc. (www.travlang.com)
Pa^go de Aaron D. Irvine.
|(If you see [ĉ] = [
||] then you have a Unicode WWW browser ... well done!)